National Children’s Dental Health Month
Sugar Wars: Win the Battle Against Sugar
Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. And students who are absent miss critical instruction time, especially in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and the building blocks of future learning. Furthermore, students who have experienced recent oral health pain are 4 times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.
Because developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month each February. This years’ National Children’s Dental Health Month, entitled “Sugar Wars” helps to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Today is a perfect time to ensure your child keeps up a good oral hygiene routine.
Tips for Good Oral Health
~ The ADA recommends kids brush for two minutes, two times a day; an hourglass timer is helpful and fun to use.
~ Maintain a regular routine; brush at the same time each day, e.g., before school and before bedtime.
~ Remember to floss!
~ Visit the dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and check-ups.
~ Give your child healthy snacks instead of sugary snacks and sweets when possible.
~ Make brushing fun! Add music or encourage them to pick out their toothbrush and flavored toothpaste.
Tips to Help Brushing Averse Children
~ Explore toothpaste options until your child finds one he or she likes.
~ Some children find electric toothbrushes help combat sensory defensiveness.
~ There are ways to desensitize gums, like giving your child crunchy foods to chew prior to brushing.
~ Sometimes using warm water rather than cold water helps, or have your child dip their toothbrush in hot water prior to brushing.
Resources to Help Promote Good Oral Health:
Oral Hygiene for Babies
Did you know that a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present at birth? Those baby teeth are as important as permanent adult teeth.
Videos About Teeth and Oral Health
Browse through dozens of video clips on human teeth, animal teeth, oral health, the history of the tooth fairy, and more from PBS shows such as The Human Spark and Sid the Science Kid.
Posters and Activity Sheets for Kids
Kids will be on the road to a healthy smile in no time with these games, puzzles, coloring sheets, and smile calendar, available from the American Dental Association website.
Mouth Healthy Kids
The American Dental Association (ADA) has created a website just for kids that has the information you need to take better care of your mouth today so it will take care of you for life.
Brushing Log Sheet
To help kids keep track of their brushing and make sure they’re hitting their brushing goal, create a personalized brushing log sheet from LoveYourTeeth.net, a website that provides a fun, non-commerical way to promote healthy brushing habits for children.
Children’s teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and a healthy smile is important to a child’s self- esteem. With proper care, a balanced diet and regular dental visits, their teeth can remain healthy and strong.